Last month, Japanese dance troupe ElevenPlay performed a captivating routine incorporating technology you don’t often find in the fine arts world: drones. Designed by Daito Manabe, an artist who specializes in tech/body fusions, the drones were programmed to track the dancers’ movements and move alone with them. The routine is augmented by a dazzling audio/visual presentation.
What’s the Big Idea?
So much can be interpreted from this presentation. On one hand, we can think of what the performance means from an interpretive viewpoint. Is the message here that art and technology are in collaboration with each other? Or contention? Does the dance represent a balance of power between man and machine? Who is in control of what (or whom) and when?
The other element we can focus on is what the performance means from a broader artistic standpoint. What roles can such machines play in the future of art? What are the limitations of machines in emulating humans? Could the roles of dancers be automated come the advent of more advanced technology?
Constitutions that grant citizens the right to revolt often do so to legitimize the process by which a new government comes to power. Yet that right tends to come back to bite regimes whose opponents seek legitimacy.